Successful Resolutions

January 1, 2010

By johnmac

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Happy New Year!

I hope that you all had a wonderful holiday time with friends and family and that you guiltlessly enjoyed all the delicious meals and treats that come with the holidays…in moderation of course!  I certainly did and now am ready to get back into my routine.

I’m sure that many of you have made New Year’s resolutions and I hope that you have been kind to yourself in this regard.  Most New Year’s resolutions involve doing something to make ourselves physically healthier, such as quitting smoking, losing weight and exercising – but we should also consider things that make us emotionally healthier, such as taking more time to nurture ourselves by doing things we enjoy, learning new things, spending more time with family and friends and helping others.

If you have yet to do so, take a moment to reflect on your nutrition and lifestyle habits and think of just one or two things that you would like to improve in these areas.

Set yourself up for success by focussing on just a few simple, SPECIFIC, realistic steps and then tackle them one at a time; for example:

  • drink an extra glass of water every day
  • go for a 30 minute walk at least 3 times a week
  • avoid eating/drinking anything with trans fats or high fructose corn syrup
  • get pampered with a reflexology treatment once a month
  • take at least one hour a week to do something just for yourself
  • eat one more fruit and vegetable serving every day
  • take vitamin D and a probiotic every day

Once the one or two things that you decide to start with have become part of your routine, you can add one or two more until they also become part of your routine and so on.  Even the longest staircase is conquered by simply taking one step at a time!  Note that it generally takes at least a month to effectively form a new ‘habit’.

Nurturing ourselves with healthy, balanced food and lifestyle choices is the best thing we can do to improve our overall well-being.  Last year, the Wall Street Journal printed an article written by Deepak Chopra, Dean Ornish, Rustum Roy and Andrew Weil – all experts in ‘alternative’ medicine.  The article had the following headline:

‘Alternative’ Medicine Is Mainstream:  The evidence is mounting that diet and lifestyle are the best cures for our worst afflictions.

I have included a link to this article in the reference section at the end of this tip so that you may read it in its entirety, but I wanted to highlight a few important statements that were made (although the comments in the article refer to the health crisis in the United States, I’m sure we can extrapolate it to Canada):

  • Our “health-care system” is primarily a disease-care system. Last year, $2.1 trillion was spent in the U.S. on medical care, or 16.5% of the gross national product. Of these trillions, 95 cents of every dollar was spent to treat diseaseafter it had already occurred. At least 75% of these costs were spent on treating chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes, that are preventable or even reversible by changing diet and lifestyle.
  • The latest scientific studies show that our bodies have a remarkable capacity to begin healing, and much more quickly than we had once realized, if we address the lifestyle factors that often cause these chronic diseases. These studies show that integrative medicine can make a powerful difference in our health and well-being, how quickly these changes may occur, and how dynamic these mechanisms can be.
  • Many people tend to think of breakthroughs in medicine as a new drug, laser or high-tech surgical procedure. They often have a hard time believing that the simple choices that we make in our lifestyle — what we eat, how we respond to stress, whether or not we smoke cigarettes, how much exercise we get, and the quality of our relationships and social support — can be as powerful as drugs and surgery. But they often are. And in many instances, they’re even more powerful.
  • When you eat a healthier diet, quit smoking, exercise, meditate and have more love in your life, then your brain receives more blood and oxygen, so you think more clearly, have more energy, need less sleep. Your brain may grow so many new neurons that it could get measurably bigger in only a few months. Your face gets more blood flow, so your skin glows more and wrinkles less. Your heart gets more blood flow, so you have more stamina and can even begin to reverse heart disease.

So, you can see that all those New Year’s resolutions we make are very important and worthy of pursuing! They will have a significant, positive impact not only in the quality of our overall well-being, but also on our health care system.

Set yourself up for success by remembering the following:

  • Setting resolutions is an every day, year long process.  Write them down and put them up somewhere where you’ll see them everyday.  You can come up with new and improved resolutions any time of the year and modify your list!
  • Focus on just a few small, realistic and specific goals at a time.  For instance, if you want to lose 25 pounds this year, start by setting a goal of losing at least 2 pounds each month.  That may not seem like a lot, but it is realistic and achievable.  If you stick with it, at the end of the year, you will be at least 24 pounds lighter.
  • Don’t beat yourself up if you slip once in awhile.  Tomorrow offers you a clean, blank slate so you can get back on track.
  • Acknowledge and celebrate all of your achievements, no matter how small you may think they are. Get yourself a journal and write them down.  Review them often so you can see how many good things you’ve accomplished.  It’s a great idea to be accountable to someone for your goals so that they can help you celebrate and encourage you to stay on track.

My New Year’s message for 2010?  Do more to nurture yourself.  As always, I look forward to partnering with you to help you achieve a healthier, more vibrant you!

New Year.  New You!

Enjoy!

References:

  1. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123146318996466585.html
  2. http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fpposted/archive/2009/12/28/
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